UT System News Release
AUSTIN--The University of Texas System board of regents will soon interview five candidates for the position of president for the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.
During a special meeting today, regents received an update on the progress of the presidential search committee and approved a motion to interview a select number of candidates at a future board meeting.
The search process is being conducted according to the same rules and guidelines as other UT System presidential searches.
“I am committed to working with the board of regents to find an exceptional leader for this historic role,” said UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa. “We have been extremely pleased with the caliber of candidates we are attracting, and I am confident that we will find the right person for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Names of candidates are kept confidential to attract the absolute highest quality of candidates. Executive search firms advise that top candidates are reluctant to pursue a position without a promise of confidentiality, as it may jeopardize their current positions.
Under Texas law, only the names of finalists must be made public at least 21 days prior to selection of a president.
Four thousand three hundred--that is the average number of people under age 21 who die an alcohol-related death every year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website.
UT-Brownsville tackled that and others issues during a town hall meeting to inform the community on the dangers of underage drinking. More than 100 students, parents and members of the community attended the meeting held Tuesday in the Student Union’s Gran Salón.
A panel of experts on substance abuse, mental health, the legal system, employment, law enforcement and medicine provided information and answered questions from the audience. The panel included Sara Sanchez, spokeswoman for M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving); attorney and Port Isabel Municipal Judge Helen O. Delgadillo; Araceli Lopez, an agent for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission; Emilia Guerra, director of human resources for the Brownsville Public Utilities Board; Joe Guerra, a licensed chemical dependency counselor from Origins Recovery Center on South Padre Island; and Sgt. Juan G. Hernandez, of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“[We are here] tonight to talk openly about underage drinking and bring forth solutions and strategies that will end the tragedies that too often resolve from poor decisions when it comes to alcohol,” said Marilyn Woods, the meeting’s moderator and executive assistant to UTB President Juliet V. García.
Woods said alcohol use by individuals 21 and under is a major public health problem.
More than 500 UT-Brownsville students learned about safety during the Spring Break Luau.
“The purpose of our Spring Break Luau is to make sure our students are aware of safety and to be on the lookout as we approach Spring Break week,” said Heather Olague, director of Student Engagement. “… We know what goes on during Spring Break and we just want to make sure that our students are informed so that they make the correct choices.”
Held Wednesday on the Main Building lawn, the luau featured the “pick your ride” campaign, where a car from the Brownsville Police Department, an ambulance from the Brownsville Fire Department, a hearse and a taxi were displayed to show the choices of vehicles students can ride after a night of drinking. Next to them was a pair of shoes, a bicycle and a Cadillac Escalade.
Francisco Fernandez, M.D., the newly appointed founding dean of the Rio Grande Valley’s first medical school, said access, safety, quality, satisfaction and affordability will be the main focus of the school.
During a meeting Wednesday afternoon with the UTB campus community in Salón Cassia, Fernandez said he will use the acronym DEPTH to describe the basic issues that the medical school will address.
“D” is for diversity, “E” is for excellence, Fernandez said to a crowd of more than 40 people.
“I have a whole other conceptualization of excellence,” he said.
Professional is the “P” in DEPTH.
“I really think it’s a very high bar indeed,” he said. “I pledge to you that we will meet and attempt to surpass that bar.”
He said failure is not an option.
“The last [two letters] I really had trouble, but I finally came up with Total Health,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez said he hopes the medical school, which will open its doors in Fall 2016, will accomplish his goals.
“Now that I’ve given you DEPTH, I want to thank you for the honor to serve as the founding dean,” he said.